Conferences - Seminars
EESS talk on "Plant-animal mutualistic networks: the architecture of biodiversity"
By Dr Jordi Bascompte, Professor, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. University of Zurich
Jordi Bascompte is Professor of Ecology at the University of Zurich. He has been ranked by Thompson Reuters as one of the most highly cited ecologists in the decade 2002-2012. Among his distinctions are the European Young Investigator Award (2004), the Ecological Society of America's George Mercer Award (2007), the Spanish National Research Award (2011), and the British Ecological Society's Marsh Book of the Year Award (2016). Recipient of an ERC's Advanced Grant, Jordi has served in the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science and has been the Ideas and Perspectives Editor at Ecology Letters. Among his books are Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems (with R.V. Solé) and Mutualistic Networks (with P. Jordano), both published by Princeton University Press.
The mutualistic interactions between plants and the animals that pollinate them or disperse their seeds can form complex networks involving dozens or hundreds of species. These networks are highly heterogeneous, nested, and built upon weak and asymmetric links among species. From an ecological point of view, such general architectural patterns maximize the number of coexisting species and increase the range of variability that these mutualistic networks can withstand before one or more species goes extinct. Therefore, mutualistic networks can be viewed as the architecture of biodiversity. However, because pylogenetically similar species tend to play similar roles in the network, extinction events trigger non-random coextinction cascades. This implies that taxonomic diversity is lost faster than expected if there was no relationship between phylogeny and network structure. From an evolutionary point of view, the indirect effects arising from these network patterns may drive trait coevolution within species-rich assemblages, so that even the most specialized species are more influenced by indirect effects than by their direct partners.
Organization EESS - IIE
Contact Prof. Andrea Rinaldo, ECHO
Accessibility General public
This event is internal